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Internet and artificial intelligence create extraordinary opportunities for us

Every year, the participants of the Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF) honor the winner of the Virtuti Interneti award. It is given to representatives of the internet community, business, science and government who contributed significantly to the development of Runet and the global network. The candidates are chosen by the RIGF Programs Committee, and the awards ceremony and the subsequent lecture held by the winner have become an outstanding event on the RIGF agenda.

In 2019, the year of the forum’s 10th anniversary, this award was presented to Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, a world-renown expert in internet governance, a member of the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Internet Governance and the author of the book Internet Governance, whose seventh edition was published by the Coordination Center last fall. The first edition of this book in Russian was published by the Coordination Center in 2010.

The forum’s agenda included three sessions addressing the issues of new technologies, women’s role in the IT industry and security of personal data. The New Technologies at the Service of People: A look into the Future session moderator Yevgeny Kuznetsov (Digital Evolution Ventures) suggested discussing the topic of finding a balance between implementing these technologies and protecting common human values and the term “humanity” in general, as well as the topic of all things necessary to develop the universal constraints. Ethics were also discussed during the Security and quality of information session, where the participants spoke about the principles of using personal data and combating toxic content. “The offline and online spheres have already intersected and have aligned in many ways; the internet and society have already integrated into each other,” said Sergei Petrov (Institute for Internet Development). “Offline ethics must be applicable online, too; and so does the legislative regulation.” “I believe that the internet and artificial intelligence are creating extraordinary opportunities for us,” added Patrick Penninckx (Council of Europe). “Let us use this tool to try and make our lives and the lives of the future generations better.”

The women-oriented session of the forum called Women – Leaders of the IT Industry: Success Stories was largely dedicated to humanitarian and ethical problems as well. The participants talked about educational projects for young women and the way they help them in their future work. Federation Council Senator Lyudmila Bokova noted that today many international documents aimed at improving women’s education and helping them obtain IT-related skills to be used in entrepreneurship are being adopted at Russia’s initiative. “It is very important that Russia is actively supporting the projects aimed at increasing women’s presence in the IT industry; it is also important for us to talk at length about women’s engagement in digital economy,” the senator said.

At the end of RIGF 2019, Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ Andrei Vorobyev summed up the forum’s results. “International dialogue, adherence to the principle of the internet’s trans-border nature and cooperation in the sphere of security are the three main components of the modern internet,” he said. Session moderators – Anna Nesterova (Global Rus Trade), Yevgeny Kuznetsov (Digital Evolution Ventures) and Roman Chukov (Russian Center for Promotion of International Initiatives) – summed up the results of their sessions as well.

“Our session brought together women who ‘just did it,’” Nesterova said. “We spoke about the need for a positive agenda, the fact that all of us are in this together – both men and women. We considered the situation in the internet from every angle and took note of the importance of digital literacy and educational projects’ development, as well as the need to take real action.”

Yevgeny Kuznetsov noted that society is skeptical about artificial intelligence: “So far, we are not ready to accept that robots are better at decision-making than people are – people simply refuse to admit that,” he said. “This means a slow response when it comes to adopting laws. But subjectification of robots is the real issue that we have to address today, and it is important for Russia not to lag behind and to adopt a comfortable jurisdiction for robots as fast as possible.”

Roman Chukov took note of the importance of working together, which will allow for establishing a common legislative framework and law enforcement practice for handling personal data. “It is good that now people are talking about establishing a code of ethics for using personal data – this will allow for using soft, in terms of form, but strict, in terms of action, ways to address personal data management issues.”

“Internet governance must be based on the principle of multipolarity and the practice of taking every opinion into account,” Andrei Vorobyov concluded. “This, perhaps, is the main point of our 10th anniversary forum.” In the near future, the final resolution of the forum will be drafted and posted on the RIGF 2019 website. This concluded the 10th Russian Internet Governance Forum’s work. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Coordination Center events of 2019!